The Federal Government’s Department of Industry, Science, and Technology has announced a new Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Export Hub initiative worth $20 million over four years, designed to help support businesses in priority “Growth Centre” sectors.
The initiative will provide up to $1.5m (with a $150,000 minimum) to help local firms export their technologies and products. The six “Growth Centre” sectors being Advanced Manufacturing; Cyber Security; Food and Agribusiness; Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals; Mining Equipment, Technology and Services; and Oil, Gas and Energy Resources.
According to Business.gov.au, where companies may apply for the grants, states “The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) grant opportunity will support SME Export Hubs in the development of local, regional and Indigenous brands through business collaborations in the identified areas of competitive strength.”
The grants will cover up to 50% of total project costs.
“Beginning to export can be challenging but there are massive opportunities for Australian firms to take their products, processes and services to big markets in our region and around the world, increasing revenue and creating new jobs,” Minister for Industry, Science, and Technology Karen Andrews stated.
“Export hubs will help Australian companies overcome these challenges and begin to export.”
We know that this sort of practical assistance can be invaluable for local businesses.”
“The hubs will help businesses team up with other firms and through activities such as developing collective brands, take advantage of local infrastructure to boost business operations, and position regional businesses to participate in global supply chains.”
Export hubs are designed to break down the barriers SMEs faced when starting exports, by increasing information and sharing resources, including increasing access to overseas buyers and supply chains.
Eligible businesses may also seek additional or complimentary funding from AusTrade, the Australian Export Finance Corporation, the Enterpreneurs’ Programme, and the Industry Growth Centres Initiative.
The maximum grant period is four years, and the project must be completed by 30 June 2022.
Companies wishing to apply must first express their interest on the Export Hub portal. If successful, they may formally apply for a grant using the same system.
Assistance and further documentation such as sample grant applications and opportunity guidelines are available at the SME Export Hub portal, here.
The SME Export hub is part of a larger Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan, announced in the 2018-19 Budget. The Government states it represents the public sector’s “investment in infrastructure to enable the generation and commercialisation of new ideas, and support businesses to grow and create new jobs.”